A group of Democratic senators does insisting on federal law enforcement officers to investigate and prosecute some of the most popular online tax filing companies for allegedly sharing millions of taxpayer financial records with Meta and Google.
On Tuesday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and others asked the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, the Treasury Department and the IRS to investigate whether TaxSlayer, H&R Block and TaxAct are taxpayers have violated privacy laws by sharing sensitive user information with the two tech companies.
Senators also released their own report Wednesday with details of the allegations, first voiced Through The layout last November. The report alleges that for years tax preparation companies have been equipping their products with Meta and Google tracking pixels that revealed identifying information such as a user’s full name, address and date of birth. The senators also suggest that some of the information provided, such as the forms a user opened, could be used to show “whether taxpayers were eligible for certain deductions or exemptions.”
The senators argue that the companies have not obtained user consent to share this information, which could violate laws that prohibit tax preparers from sharing tax return information with third parties, especially since much of this data could be used for advertising purposes.
“The findings of this report reveal a shocking violation of taxpayer privacy by tax preparers and by Big Tech companies that appeared to violate taxpayer rights and may have violated taxpayer privacy laws,” the senators said in their Tuesday letter.
TaxSlayer, H&R Block, and TaxAct all confirmed that they shared “extensive taxpayer data” via Meta’s pixel in the Senators’ report. After The layout published the November findings, each of the companies said they had “removed or disabled” it from their websites.